Under the existing Labor Standards Act, in practice employers are able to have their employees work overtime without limit by entering into a labor-management agreement stipulated by Article 36 of the Labor Standards Act with special conditions for exceptional circumstances. The Action Plan indicates the direction of legal reform by introducing the Overtime Work Regulation with Punishment, with the purpose of correcting the practice of long working hours.
The Action Plan calls for, in principle, limiting overtime to 45 hours per month and 360 hours per year; in the event of a violation, the employer will be punished. There will be exceptions where employers may have their employees go above the overtime limit, in the case of temporary, special circumstances. However, in no case shall overtime exceed 720 hours per year (a monthly average of 60 hours). Further, within the 720-hour annual overtime limit: (i) overtime including work during holidays shall not exceed a monthly average of 80 hours for any span between two and six months; (ii) monthly overtime including work during holidays shall be less than 100 hours; and (iii) exceptions to the above-mentioned rule limiting monthly overtime to 45 hours shall apply no more than six times per year.
It is expected that the regulation described above will not wholly apply to, and/or special regulations will be developed for, certain types of businesses, such the business of driving automobiles, the construction business, or the business of doctors.